Local theaters prepare for live audiences along with Symphony on the Prairie


INDIANAPOLIS — For theaters and concert venues, the pandemic has been about survival. Now as Hoosiers look toward the summer, it’s about their return.

“It’s been two years since they have been able to enjoy music the way they like it,” said Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra CEO James Johnson.

Symphony on the Prairie will be back at 50% capacity this summer. Unlike years past, fans will have to purchase tickets for specific shows, however they will have large LED screens to help concert goers catch the best view. Tickets go on sale starting May 24th.

“We are going to be asking people to wear masks. That’s the guideline at the moment,” added Johnson.

As for volunteer theaters like Footlite musicals, the past year has been especially difficult. Venues like theirs do not qualify for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, but they were able to get grant funding from the Indianapolis Arts Council. The money went directly to renovating their theater to be COVID friendly.

In June, they will be showcasing a performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Tickets can be bought here. At the show there will be more touchless capabilities in the bathrooms and ticket entry. They have also improved their air flow system to increase circulation volume.

“While I’m glad we made it through I am still worried about a lot of other smaller venues,” said Footlite President Leslie Stantonlee III. “I’m hoping and praying we all get through this together strong.”

The pandemic has been extremely hard on the Fonseca Theatre Company. It was co-founded by Brian Fonseca. He passed away due to complications with COVID-19. He and Jordan Flores Schwartz opened the location to include more diversity in the arts.

“It was something that we all felt very deeply. Brian was one of those people that could light up a room, and his presence is greatly missed,” detailed Flores Schwartz. “What does stay behind and is going to continue to grow and nurture here, is the spirit he approached his work with.”

They will hold their first show without him on May 21, and you can purchase tickets here. It will be the world premier of the Yale Drama Prize winning play Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry, You too August Wilson. It will be on their outdoor stage which can hold 50 people around it. Those spots will include social distancing as well as masks.

“The shows we did last summer surrounded directly with gun violence and the Black Lives Matter movement,” explained Flores Schwartz. “The focus for this season is hope and how our community has been through so much.”

They have started the Brian Fonseca Legacy Fund to honor their former co-founder. That money will help expand their location to the building next door. It will be a community space that will include a coffee shop and laundry location for the actors as well as anyone who needs it.

“We will be able to host meetings, and be a site for community events like clean-ups and festivals,” hoped Flores Schwartz.

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